Although “Stolen from Stella’s Cafe” is spelled out on the bottom of this ash tray, I did not steal it. Stella’s Cafe was long gone when my husband and I moved to Nevada (Nuh-VAY-duh), Iowa, in 1988. We got it from an elderly gentleman’s garage sale and I doubt he’d stolen it either. He wasn’t the thieving type.
I don’t smoke; never have. Rather, I claimed this ash tray for its story. Who was Stella and was she really worried that the local townsfolk had sticky fingers? Or was the phrasing just a gimmick from a barware salesman? I’m guessing the latter was closer to the truth.
Occasionally I use it as a paperweight or a coaster for a soda pop can. But mostly it’s a retro relic reminding me of a bygone era. Thank you, Stella.
P.S. There really was a Stella. According to the Iowa GenWeb Project, Stella Beatrice Fuller operated Stella’s Cafe from 1943-1963. Thank you, Iowa GenWeb volunteers who are saving our genealogical history online.